Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, Feb. 16

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 17, 2020
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COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador in Colombo Alaina Teplitz to convey Sri Lanka's strongest objections over the U.S. government's move to impose travel restrictions on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Sri Lankan Army and Acting Chief of Defence Staff, as well as his immediate family.

The U.S. government on last Friday banned the Sri Lankan Army Chief and his immediate family from entering the United States, over alleged human rights violations committed in the last stages of the island country's civil war which ended in 2009. (Sri Lanka-U.S.-Diplomacy)

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HONG KONG -- Hong Kong is likely to see its highest ever budget deficit in the next fiscal year as it deals with the impact of the outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) as well as the social unrest in the past months, financial secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said on Sunday.

In addition to the COVID-19 outbreak, the local community has yet to fully recover from last year's social events. As a result, the short-term economic outlook has to be cautious and fiscal deficit is likely to remain for a period of time, Financial Secretary Paul Chan said in an article published on his official blog. (Hong Kong-Budget deficit)

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TOKYO -- The approval rate for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet dropped 8.3 percent compared to the previous poll in January, marking the sharpest decrease in nearly two years, a Kyodo News survey revealed Sunday.

The nationwide opinion poll conducted over the weekend showed that the approval rate stands at 41.0 percent. (Japan-Cabinet approval rate)

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KABUL -- Five Taliban militants were killed and 25 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were neutralized during an Afghan army operation in southern Kandahar province, the Afghan Defense Ministry said Sunday.

"The raid, that was part of preventive measures being adopted to ensure a high level of security and safety in Kandahar, was conducted in Khakrez district on Saturday," the ministry said in a statement. (Afghanistan-Militants) Enditem

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